The Tribune's Bears columnist answers reader questions each week during the season
Do you think Denver will give us back two No. 1s and Kyle Orton for Jay Cutler? We could have drafted offensive and defensive line help and still have the better quarterback had we kept Orton. Stop the Cutler/Favre comparisons and think Bob Avellini, Vince Evans, etc. Too bad we can't even get a case of Gatorade for Cutler now! Milan Todorovich, Spring Hill, Fla.
Look, I've been as hard on Cutler as anyone. But I'm not ready to dump him yet, and the Bears aren't either. You can't give up on anyone that quickly. He needs to be given an honest chance, and some help. I still think he is maybe the most gifted quarterback in the league physically. He still has outstanding potential.
If Cutler cannot get the job done why don't they put Todd Collins in? At least Collins was accurate with the passes and they did win thei game with him at QB. Cutler should be better than he is playing. Look at Ben Roethlisberger. Even with his suspension, he is playing better! Please tell the Bears to make a change before it is too late! Fred, Richmond, Va.
Did you see the Bears-Panthers game, Fred? I don't believe Todd Collins is the answer. And I don't believe making a change at quarterback is the answer. You have to give Cutler a chance to work out of his problems. He always has been a streaky quarterback. When he gets it going, he can be very, very good. And when he struggles, he can be very, very bad.
Can we incorporate the shotgun in this offense so that Cutler can scan the field and have some survival time? How about some no huddle to put the D on their heels? Even Ron Turner did that once in a while. One more thing: Let's get Mike Martz up in the booth. Maybe then he`ll see what's happening to his QB. Tony Tarabocchia, Stony Brook, N.Y.
The shotgun is a part of the Bears offense. Cutler has taken 35 snaps in shotgun, according to STATS. He has completed 48.6 percent of his shotgun throws for 278 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He has been sacked six times out of the gun. Mike Martz never has been a big no-huddle coach, so I wouldn't expect that. He prefers to put a defense on its heels with shifting and motioning. In terms of Martz moving upstairs so he can see what's happening to his QB, he'd probably prefer to cover his eyes unless things improve.
Isn't it about time for Mike Martz to allow Jay Cutler to call audibles? Martz praises Jay to the skies, yet forbids him to change a play at the line of scrimmage. Tom Zolnay, Tuscon, Ariz
The fact that Cutler is not allowed to make audible calls (except on run direction, as a rule) has nothing to do with Cutler. It has everything do to with Martz' system. Kurt Warner wasn't allowed to make audible calls either, and the system worked fine for him. The concept Martz uses is this: Instead of having his quarterback change the play at the line to adjust to defensive looks, he uses shifts and motions to make defenses adjust to the offense, and to make defenses declare their intentions before the snap. It's aggressive thinking, and it's not for everyone. But I really like the fact that Martz forces defenses adjust to the offense, instead of having the offense adjust to the defense.
Do you think Cutler can accept coaching and improve his decision making? His post-game demeanor reads as arrogance and/or indifference. Having recently watched another athletically gifted QB, JaMarcus Russell, sleep-walk his way out of the league, I'm worried. John D., Albany, Calif.
Great question. I would hope so. But the most difficult thing for any quarterback to improve probably is decision making. So much of it is innate. I suppose that as Cutler becomes more familiar and comfortable in Martz' system, theoretically he should make better decisions. But that's assuming he responds well to X-factors like defensive pressure and unexpected mistakes by teammates. I think your worry is justified.
Could Jay Cutler and Jeff George somehow be related? Rich Holcomb, Alexandria, Va.
No, but they could be brothers from another mother.
It seems that Jay Cutler's best games as a Bear (other than the Dallas game) and the games in which he has thrown the least interceptions have been those that Devin Aromashadu has played in. I understand the Bears need to run the ball more effectively, but why do the Bear's continue to limit Aromashadu's playing time? Phil Keith, Park Ridge
It's pretty clear that Aromashodu is behind Johnny Knox and Earl Bennett in the pecking order at this point, and he's on a par with Devin Hester. The Bears have reduced Hester's snaps because they want him to be more effective on special teams. I think the coaching staff believes Knox and Bennett, as well as Hester, are more versatile receivers who can help the offense in more ways than Aromashodu. They are probably better fits for everything Martz likes to do. I'm with you though-I'd like to see more of D.A.
It seems that everyone loves Johnny Knox, but he drives me nuts with his terrible route running. Does he get taught how to run a proper route? Jason
I think Knox is a very good route runner. His coaches think so too. A lot of people make assumptions about receivers running poor routes when they have no idea where the receiver is supposed to be.
Lovie Smith is the talk of the league for, among other things, blowing it on not throwing the replay flag on the Cutler fumble. I'd like to know exactly how these decisions get made. In defense of him and all head coaches, they don't have time to meticulously review a play. Isn't that the job of someone up in the booth? Shouldn't the head coach simply rely on this person's judgment? The Bears are not the only ones to blow this. It just strikes me as utter incompetence for any team to not have a good system for what they know will be a time sensitive, yet critical decision. Phil K., Mildenhall, England
This is the way it works. Smith cannot see a replay unless it is shown on the video board at the stadium. But he has five assistants in a booth who have access to the television feed, as well as the capacity to hit rewind and look at a play over again. They are the ones who are responsible for making the recommendation to Smith. It's unclear if those assistants told Smith to throw the flag on the quarterback sneak. But they unquestionably should have. The Bears had 50 seconds between the time the officials announced it was a fumble and the time the Redskins snapped the ball. And Fox showed replays of the play at two angles that cast doubt that the on-field call (no touchdown) was correct.
There is something bothering me and it is the fact that Roberto Garza is much better blocking than Chris Williams. I know that Garza is hurt, but should be fine by the end of the bye week. I hope Mike Tice is smart enough to pull Williams at left guard and put Garza back in. The last two games he has let people fly by even with some double-team help. Chris is not ready period. Where ever he plays he lets guys through. Cutler has been hit so many times that he is now scared to run out of the pocket. I'm sick of this offensive line. Please help me by publishing this to get Williams off the field. Tice needs a wake-up call when it comes to him. He is not good. This reminds me of the Tommie Harris thing, where he can play as horrible as he wants, but he still started. Maybe we can help them realize sooner rather than later. Todd Davis, Marco Island, Fla.
The Bears have not announced what their intentions are regarding Garza, but my colleague Brad Biggs has reported Garza will be playing right guard the next time they take the field, with Chris Williams remaining at left guard. Right guard is the position Garza has played for most of his Bears career, and the position he was best at. The coaches want to get their best five blockers on the field and they believe Chris Williams is one of their best five. He did not play like it Sunday against the Redskins, but he played better in his previous start at guard.
I'm concerned about the future of Tommie Harris. He still is not starting and I hate to say it but I have seen him on the ground a ton lately. Have injuries taken their toll on Tommie or is it something mental that is not allowing him to be the player that he was? I'm worried the Bears will need another 3 Techique in the offseason. Tarik Dear, Canal Winchester, Ohio
I think injuries have taken a toll on Harris. If there is something else going on, I'm not aware of it. But he is not the player he was, and if I were running the Bears I would assume I would need to find another 3 technique in the offseason.
Why isn't there more media "coverage" of how financially unfit the Bears ownership is to compete in the NFL? The reason why the Bears are so inferior or mediocre in so many areas is because they don't spend. Most observers have chronicled what the Bears lack for years; why the Bears don't respond in filling all roster holes, physical (size and performance attributes) limitations, and underperformers is all about money. It has been reported that the Bears are financially "bush league" with a stadium disproportionately small for the size of the Chicago market, the legacy status of the local NFL franchise, etc. They clearly don't spend like a world-class professional football team. Yet, you folks never cover the obvious or start the chant for new blood in the ownership box. What do the McCaskey's have on you? Dave A., Roselle, Ill.
The McCaskeys give us free hot dogs at halftime of all home games. As a result, we in the media would never utter a cross word about them.